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A bibliography is a list (in alphabetical order) of everything you have read which contributed towards your assignment, project, dissertation, etc.; but which you have not cited (referred to) in your work.

In contrast a reference list, is a list (again in alphabetical order) of everything you read which is referred to or cited in your work.

Both the 'bibliography' and the 'reference list' should note the essential information for the work so that others can also read your sources.  In addition, in academic terms, the inclusion of a bibliography indicates the thoroughness of your research.

Examples of the 'details' required for each type of material can be found in COMMUNICATION > Writing Skills > References & Quotations, but in essence the conventions include:

  • Don't number each item

  • Begin each source on a new line

  • List the materials alphabetically by the author's surname

  • If you list more than one work by the same author in the same year, label these as a, b, c, etc.  For example; 2000a, 2000b, 2000c (where 2000 is the publication year) – and use the same year notation in the citation.

  • Put the detailed information such as author, date, title, publisher, etc. in the same format as the examples included on this CD-ROM (COMMUNICATION > Writing Skills > References & Quotations) or as laid down by your faculty.

  • Use italics (or underline) for the title of the book/journal, etc.

  • Use 'single' quotation marks for the title of an article within a journal or magazine


Here is an example reference list and bibliography:


Abercrombie, MLJ (1969) The Anatomy of Judgement, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth.

Abercrombie, MJL (1980) Aims and Techniques of Group Teaching, Society for Research into Higher Education, London.

Albanese, M and Mitchell, S (1993) Problem-based learning: a review of literature on its outcomes and implementation issues, Academic Medicine, 68, 52-81.

Astin, AW (1985) Achieving Educational Excellence: a Critical Assessment of Priorities and Practices in Higher Education, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.

Ballard, B and Clanchy, J (1997) Teaching International Students, Deakin, ACT, IDP Education Australia

. . . .

Wong, CS (1994) Using a cognitive approach to assess achievement in secondary school mathematics, Unpublished MEd dissertation, University of Hong Kong.


Beattie, K and James, R (1997) The Psychology of Written Composition, Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ.

Bligh, DA (1971) What’s the Use of Lectures?, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth.

Elliot, J (1991) Action Research for Educational Change, Open University Press, Milton Keynes.

etc. . .

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